HomeIndustry InsightsChina's PET Export Surge and the Resurgent rPET Market in Europe

China's PET Export Surge and the Resurgent rPET Market in Europe


The demand for virgin polyethylene terephthalate (PET) continues to soar in China, with 2023 exports already outpacing those of the previous year. According to recent data from Czapp, this surge in exports is a clear indication of a robust market for Chinese virgin PET. Despite Indian anti-dumping measures, China's exports to India have shown remarkable growth, increasing by 55% in November alone. From January to November, exports to India skyrocketed by a factor of 11, reaching an impressive 1.9 million tons.


While India has implemented anti-dumping duties, the Indian market is not the only destination for China's PET exports. Other countries, including Russia, Algeria, East Africa, and the United Arab Emirates, are also significant recipients, although the ongoing Red Sea crisis may pose challenges to future exports.

Meanwhile, in Europe, the market for recycled PET (rPET) flakes is experiencing a surge in demand. ICIS reports that rising prices and increased interest in rPET bottle flakes are driving this market rebound. In southern Europe, the price of FD clear rPET bottle flakes has seen a 50 euro per ton increase. Italy, in particular, has seen prices reach 1,000 euros per ton, with expectations for the next auction price exceeding 500 euros per ton.


European recycling companies are noting a strong uptick in demand for rPET flakes and pellets in the initial months of 2023. The growth in demand is being fueled by the rising prices and buyer concerns about future price increases. However, the sustainability of this trend remains a matter of uncertainty.


Recycled polyethylene terephthalate, or rPET, is a material produced through the recycling and reprocessing of discarded PET plastic. PET, a widely used plastic known for its use in beverage bottles, packaging materials, and various consumer products, is collected, cleaned, shredded, and melted down to be reshaped into rPET pellets. These pellets can then be used to produce new PET plastic products, thereby closing the loop in the plastic supply chain.


The production and use of rPET contribute to a reduction in the demand for virgin PET materials, decrease resource consumption, and help mitigate environmental pollution. As such, rPET plays a crucial role in advancing the circular economy for plastics. The current market dynamics suggest that both virgin PET and rPET will continue to be in high demand, highlighting the importance of sustainable plastic management practices globally.

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